What to do:
MARQ (archaeology) – about 2-3 Euros - Plaza del Doctor Gomez Ulla
MUBAG (art) – Free – Calle Gravina 13-15 – Very worth seeing!
Museo de Hogueras – Free – Rambla de MŽndez Nś–ez, 29 - 15 min glance into the cityŐs summer festival
Castillo de Santa B‡rbara
Going up to the castle is a must. Beautiful view of the city. Try to go on a clear day for the best views/photos. I really recommend walking, but there is an elevator for a small fee on the beach side of the castle.
Playa de Postiguet
This is the beach right in Alicante. If you want to see a really beautiful beach, hop on the train to Playa San Juan, just north of Alicante (15 minute ride – one swipe of your bus card both ways)
HereŐs what the internet says about it: ŇThe beloved pedestrianized marble mosaic- 6.6 million little tiles compose it. With towering palm trees, charming terrace cafŽs and incomparable views of the harbor and the Mediterranean sea beyondÓ Also – this is where you can do your Ňtourist-yÓ shopping. Most afternoons there are street vendors in little tents on the end away from Playa de Postiguet. Also along the Explanada throughout the day, there are vendors with their ŇdesignerÓ bags, sunglasses, etc.
Where to Eat/Drink:
Tapas: Lizarran – on Las Ramblas and near Plaza Luceros - very affordable, really great tapas – they have really great sangria!
Ice Cream: Heladeria Valentino – Cheap, Awesome ice cream – on the Explanada, right next to Subway
Sandwiches: Bar/CafŽ Bordaberri – in the Barrio – the man that owns this place is SO nice. We ate there like 3-4 times per week (burgers, sausage, etc.) after the beach. A beer/sangria and a sandwich for about 5 euros. You donŐt have to tip at all in Spain. At this restaurant you usually will get a free shot or after dinner drink, too.
Dancing: MulliganŐs Pub – on Las Ramblas – many students go there
DonŐt forget that there are also some discos and bars out on the pier (through the casino). There is also an American-type bar (Coyote Ugly) out there. ItŐs worth checking out for a night. If you choose to go into the casino youŐll need your passport to get in. Also – when you go out, ladies, take some tissues or something as toilet paper is in short supply.
MOJITOS: Tasca El Coscorron – this is an absolute MUST – in the Barrio – find this bar, order mojitos – there are buy one get one specials early in the evenings on week nights. The door is like 4ft tall. This bar plays jazz and reggae and just has an overall great atmosphere.
Internet cafŽs have cheap internet, some for .35 Euro/half hour
The bus system is great. Though it is a bit expensive – about 1 Euro per trip with the bus card (which I recommend). Bus cards can be purchased/reloaded at the newspaper stands throughout the city. I walked almost everywhere once I found my way around. I was never really scared to walk alone at night, though I do recommend using caution. If possible walk with someone else. The busses donŐt run from about 11pm to about 6am (depending on the time of year). My advice is to for sure take the bus to the University, but try to walk within Alicante.
Skype is a great way to communicate back home. ItŐs practically free and you can access it wherever there is internet. Speaking of internet, there is a city park with free Wifi but AVOID it. This is the only place that I felt threatened in Alicante. The people know that you have computer equipment and that you canŐt really move away very quickly. If you choose to do this hold on to your things and be prepared to leave if you need to.
Check out the grocery stores. There are a lot of cool products available and food is actually very affordable. Beer is sold by the can for about .50 Euro and you can get a bottle of red wine that is actually drinkable and decent for .79 Euro. You will love olive oil and bread after this trip.
Meal times are quite different in Spain (so are times for nightlife). Lunch is served later in the afternoon (around 2pm). Dinner is therefore around 10pm. Nightlife then starts around 11pm and lasts until sunrise or past. Also – nothing is really open during siesta (late afternoon) or on Sundays.
If youŐre a coffee drinker – the espresso really is awesome, you just wonŐt be able to find a ŇrealÓ cup of coffee.
Try to see a Soccer game (Go Barcelona!) in a bar. Everyone is very excited and it is a very fun time.
The campus is really quite big. It is very well kept, gardens, fountains, etc. Check out the cafeteria. It is pretty affordable and they have great pastries (I recommend the chocolate-filled croissants) and sandwiches for between classes. The professors are quite laid back and donŐt really mind if you happen to be late or whatever. They were all very kind and friendly. You will have to purchase your books – I spent about $75 for 2 classes. The University has some dance classes, etc available – just check in the control tower (the university used to be an airport). This is also where T-shirts, etc. are available. They are very helpful as well. On campus there is a post office and a couple of banks.
Speaking of banks, DO NOT take travellerŐs checks. Find out how much your bank charges for the exchage and use your DEBIT card in the ATMŐs. (Credit cards generally charge about 3% whereas my debit card only charged an extra fraction of 1%) or take CASH (youŐll need to change it to Euros – do it all at once to avoid extra fees)
Internet access is very easy on campus. Just head to the lab in the library, trade your driverŐs license/passport for an access card, and youŐre golden.